March 2000

New stent graft procedure offered at St. John’s in Joplin, St. Joseph in Reading

St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin, Mo., and St. Joseph Medical Center, Reading, Pa., are the first hospitals in their regions to offer stent graft treatments for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Stent grafts offer patients a minimally invasive treatment alternative to open abdominal surgery.

At St. John’s, Joseph Graham, MD, a board-certified cardiovascular surgeon, is one of just 18 surgeons in the United States qualified to perform endovascular repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm using the Medtronic AneuRx™ Stent Graft. "A fair number of people who need this surgery are considered inoperable because of other health problems," said Graham. "For these patients, the stent graft can truly be a lifesaver. For other patients, this procedure is a convenience. With the new endovascular repair, most patients will go home the next day and could potentially return to work within a week."

At St. Joseph, two vascular surgeons recently performed the procedure using the Ancure Endograft. "Patients do feel a lot better after this procedure than they would with conventional surgery," said Ali Amin, MD.

The procedure is performed by making two small incisions near the patient’s groin, then using a catheter to insert the stent graft into the femoral artery. Once in place, the stent graft expands to provide a new path for blood flow, reducing pressure on the aneurysm.